Tuesday, 18 August 2015 07:02

The Backpocket Grower

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A new web-based tool that takes information access to a new level.

The NZ Backpocket Grower is a web-based information management tool.  It can be accessed from desktop computers, or web enabled devices like tablets or smart phones.   It is a web-app that provides rapid access to the specialised data, information and calculators that growers need to make informed and timely management decisions.

NZ Winegrowers have embraced the NZ Backpocket Grower (NZBPG) concept and a suite of tools and information around agrichemical use has been packaged for industry wide release in the 2015-16 season.  

Why focus on the Spray Schedule and agrichemical management information?

Decisions around agrichemical use are arguably the most frequently required and complicated problems that growers have to deal with each season.  The main advisory tool that NZ Winegrower’s provides to members to assist with chemical use decisions is the annual Spray Schedule.  

This schedule provides information on what agrichemical products can be used in the New Zealand wine industry each season, what chemical residue levels are accepted in wine in different export markets and what withholding periods need to be observed to meet specific market residue and New Zealand legal requirements.  

The schedule also provides information on chemical use patterns required to achieve nil agrichemical residues in wine and information on restrictions around agrichemical use for sheep grazing and leaf plucking on vineyards.  

The schedule contains market critical and dynamic information.   However, it can only provide limited information on specific agrichemicals and the pests, diseases and weeds that they are used to manage.  There is masses of information on these topics on the NZ Winegrowers website and available from third party sources and are seldom all readily available to support informed and rapid decision making.  Analysis of industry agrichemical use practices shows that spraying decisions are often compromised in some way in terms of product selection, product mixtures, application rates, resistance management and or timing. 

The NZBPG web-app will provide growers with access to all information they need when they need it – agrichemical information is just the start.    

How does it work?

You can follow a traditional web address to access the NZ Winegrowers NZBPG at www.nzbackpocketgrower.co.nz or use a QR code scanner on your smart device to link to the site.

The app accesses NZ Winegrowers data, so you need to login using your standard username and password for the NZWine.com website.

Once in, you will see that there are currently three main menu items at the top of the screen.  

The left hand Growsafe option provides access to the NZ Agrichemical Education Trust agrichemical resources in a Wikipedia like format.  These currently offer the online version of the Standard Growsafe and Approved Handler agrichemicals resources.  More technical and applied agrichemical use information is gradually being added by the Growsafe team.  This is a good example of integrated access to an external information resource for Winegrowers members.   

The right hand Tools option provides access to relevant FactSheets and other resources from the NZ Wine website along with calculators and video based material.  

The central Spray guides option provides access to a suite of agrichemical information drawn from several different databases – this is where NZ Winegrowers spray schedule data is combined with agrichemical product information.    

The spray guides

Agrichemical information can be accessed by way of a series of simple quick filters.  Do you know what the weed, pest or disease is and want to know what chemicals may control it?

Do you want to search directly for information on a particular agrichemical?

Probably the most common access point will be to use the rolling wall chart option to see what chemicals are able to be used at different growth stages and see what has label claims for the different pests and diseases that may occur as problems at that time.

You will find that there are many different ways to access and display agrichemical information.  The best way to find your way around the BPG tool is to play with it.   The following is a brief description of some of the current functionality.

The Spray Schedule database covers multiple seasons – the tool defaults to display information for the current season, but you can view PHI and MRL data from previous seasons.

Filters help you to just display chemicals from the group that is of interest to you. For example you can just display organically acceptable chemicals, or chemicals permitted by your wine company.  Different filter lists can be developed and maintained as required.

You can change the way that chemical information is displayed by sorting the data.  Current sort options are to display by product name, by active ingredient or by chemical resistance management group.

How can an interactive online tool deliver more than traditional publications?

The NZBPG provides rapid access to complex information as and when required.

The ability to filter and sort large amounts of data means that users can quickly view the information in a way that is relevant to the task at hand.

Static agrichemical product label information can be plugged directly to calculators that support real world spraying decisions – What rate of agrichemical should be applied?  How much chemical needs to be added to the spray tank?

The NZBPG establishes linkages between different types of information – in the current version agrichemical information has been delivered in combination with resources on pests, diseases, weeds and their management.

Do try it this season. And look out for more details to come.

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